Blizzard will open its esports arena dubbed the Blizzard Arena in Los Angeles. The World of Warcraft and Overwatch publisher describes the arena as a “cutting-edge live-event destination” located at Burbank Studios. It’s designed to meet the requirement of “pro players, esports fans, and everyone else who loves premier competition.”
What’s special about Blizzard Arena?
Blizzard stated that the arena will have various sound stages, practice areas and control rooms for competitions and broadcasting. There will also be a retail store in the arena.
Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime said, “We’re at a tipping point for esports and we look forward to helping usher in a new era of competition-based entertainment.”
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Blizzard Arena will include three studio spaces and two production control rooms. Each studio will be capable of holding about 450 people. Blizzard will use the other two studios for production purposes and broadcasting a commentary team or players who are in the game remotely. The arena will also have practice space for competitions including a locker room for its video game athletes, notes LA Times.
Blizzard Arena opens on October 7 with the start of the Overwatch Contenders Season One Playoffs, and going forward, it will host a string of other tournaments throughout the year. Some of the events included the Hearthstone Championship Tour’s Summer Championship, the Heroes of the Storm Global Championship, and the finals of the World of Warcraft Arena Championship.
Blizzard Arena will also host the Overwatch League matches. The matches will start some time later in the year, and it will be the first major city-based competitive gaming league, with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft being one of the team owners, notes Gamespot.
Not the first of its type
Blizzard Arena is not the first of its type. In 2014, MLG launched its first dedicated eSports arena in the United States. Similar arenas are also in various other cities, such as Seoul and Beijing. Recently, a nightclub on the Las Vegas strip was transformed into a competitive gaming space, notes The Verge.
In addition, Blizzard opened its first permanent competitive gaming space with a snack bar and memorabilia shop in Taipei a few months ago. Referred to as the Blizzard eStadium, the arena can hold 250 fans at a time. The eStadium is focused on hosting local and international matches, primarily for the Asia-Pacific region, notes Engadget.
The popularity of eSports has increased over the years with the California-based video game developer throwing some of the most interesting events across its own franchises. For 2017, the category is expected to generate $700 million, and analysts believe the growth will not slow anytime soon, notes NewZoo.
Citing the growing popularity of eSports, David Gordon, public relations manager for Blizzard, said a dedicated studio will prevent the company from having to design an arena from scratch every time. Further, the executive said that a space like this will have all the requirements with a few things and aesthetics that can be changed according to the needs of each event.
“We’ve definitely learned from all the events we’ve put on over the years,” Gordon said.